By Oliver Lazenby
Electricity was off a little longer than expected at Blaine High School after an electrical mishap on August 18 damaged some wiring and equipment, but everything was back in working order for the first day of school on Wednesday.
Electricity was shut off on August 4 so that work crews could move a transformer and install new wiring, one of the first steps in the $29.75 million high school expansion. An attempt to reestablish power to the campus failed and damaged some copper ground wire and infrastructure for the school’s clocks and bells.
“I think it lasted 15 seconds before it melted down,” project manager Jim Kenoyer said at an August 22 school board meeting.
Kenoyer estimated the damage will cost $100,000, but the contractor will have to pay for the additional costs.
“In the end the district should not incur any cost on this,” Kenoyer said. “If there’s good news in it, it’s that the equipment was supposed to be replaced in high school phase two construction.”
Workers are currently installing water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure at the high school.
A hole north of the track – the future home for new tennis courts – will soon be filled with crushed gravel and a stormwater retention system called StormTech, which diverts rainwater to a series of fiberglass chambers partially filled with crushed rock. The chambers retain rainwater and release it slowly, reducing impacts downstream.
At the elementary school, the old playground is gone and workers seeded the area for grass. Drainage work is underway at the new playground site and crews will install that equipment early in the school year.
At the primary school, Tiger Construction put the finishing touches on the $4 million expansion in August.
The addition has about 10,000 square feet of new classroom space to accommodate all-day kindergarten, which starts this school year.
The school district will hold an open house at Blaine Primary School from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 15, to allow the public to see the new construction.
“There’s not a plan for any sort of formal presentation but we want to give the community a chance to get to see the work,” district superintendent Ron Spanjer said at an August 22 school board meeting.